30 May 2009

Why the Gasol trade should be talked about more

In February of 2008, the Lakers traded Kwame Brown and some crumbs to the Grizzlies for Pau Gasol. I've ranted about that move several times since, and if you read my blog, you're familiar with my arguments.

But apparently there are those who don't see the Gasol trade as being any worse than say, the Billups for Iverson move or how Portland traded the pick that was Deron Williams to Utah.

Let me outline why this was a horrendous trade that, in my mind, completely invalidates this Laker team. Without Pau, there is no way they beat Houston or Denver. And as a disclaimer, as much as I disliked the Shaq and Kobe Lakers, I didn't see that team as illegitimate.

What makes the Kwame for Pau trade egregiously inequitable?

The key here is that both players were proven commodities. Pau is an All-Star level forward. Kwame is a major, major bust who contributes little to nothing to whatever team he is on.

That's what bugs me. LA gave away nothing in exchange for a player who has proven he can play extremely well for an extended period of time at the highest level of basketball.

People play the Deron card, but Deron was an unknown commodity coming out of college. There was little to no proof that he could succeed at the professional level. The Jazz took a risk trading up to pick him, just like the Blazers took a risk trading that pick away. It worked out for the Jazz.

In the same way, I do not begrudge the Lakers for having Bynum. Putting aside how ineffectual he's been in the playoffs, that kid has a bright future ahead of him, and I hate that he'll probably be making the Lakers good for another 10 years or so.

But you know what? The Lakers took a chance on an unproven kid coming out of high school. Plenty of bigs cannot take their size and translate it into NBA excellence. LA risked it with Bynum, added a lot of good coaching, and now it's paying off. That's how the game is played.

The Allen Iverson for Chauncy trade was also fine. Detroit made no bones about the fact that they were blowing up the team in order to have cap space this summer. They tanked the season. As they won two championships in the last decade, I think they probably have the right to do so. And in the end, Iverson is a proven commodity in the league... he's a scorer with decent passing skills who can get you 20 points plus per game if you let him have shots.

Chauncy is also a known commodity: a point guard who can score and run an offense well. Denver thought he could help their team, so they took a chance on trading for him.

Was the trade 100% equitable for both teams? Not really, no. Iverson has proved to be more of a problem that Detroit probably imagined, and Chauncy has been better for Denver than I think anyone expected. This is fine.

But when teams are able to give up what amounts to a pile of garbage in exchange for a great player, I don't think that's fair.

And there you have it. Find me another trade in NBA history that is egregiously inequitable as this one was.


ReinaMissy said...

Sorry, Brandon, but I don't buy it. It'd make more sense if this were their first championship run as a team, but it's not. And last year, they didn't just lose. They got their asses handed to them on a plate. And it's still happened a few times during this playoff season.

It's not buying a championship; I think Derek Jeter, for example, could tell you that all the star power in the world isn't worth crap if your team doesn't gel. It took the Lakers a year and a half and some very public embarrassment on the Celtics' home court to learn that lesson.

Nick said...

Here are some horrible ones as well:

Dirk Nowitzki for Robert Traylor

who is this robert traylor guy?

Kevin McHale and Robert Parish for Joe Caroll

The Celtics won a bunch of championships with McHale and Parish

Baron Davis for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis

Baron Davis was terrific for GS

Mike Bibby for a whole load of busts

Bibby really helped the hawks

Charles Barkley to the Suns

one of the worst ever for the 76ers

Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins, and Brandon Armstrong for Eddie Griffin

come on, eddie griffin? isn't he dead?

Ron Artest, Brad Miller for Jalen Rose

all this talent for Jalen Rose? he isn't even around anymore

Sure, the Gasol trade was bad, but so are these ones.

LaPaube said...

Wilt Chamberlain for Paul Neumann, Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, and 150 grand. Much worse from a basketball standpoint, even though there wasn't anybody in the league that would have been a fair trade for Wilt. But again, a financial decision as was the Pau trade.

Enjoy the Finals. Especially if Orlando wins, which they easily could.